A GROUND-BREAKING agreement on apprenticeships, which is due to be adopted by the TUC, will be signed today in Bury St Edmunds.
It will be the first accord to be sealed between a council and union and will be used as the template for further agreements to be settled nationally.
Representatives from unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation, and councillors from St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath will be at West Suffolk House to sign the first apprenticeship accord between employers and unions.
It will define the commitment by both parties in their approach to employing apprentices and is being signed at the end of National Apprentices Week.
One of St Edmundsbury’s own apprentices is Kirsty Downes, a community development support officer, who is completing a two- year apprenticeship with the council.
The council currently employs seven apprentices and has recruited another four.
Kirsty has recently completed her NVQ level 3 in business and administration and is now studying for a part-time degree course in hospitality and events management.
She said: “Overall my apprenticeship so far has been a great one, with lots of experience and real variety.
“They do not make me feel like an apprentice but a valuable member of the team
“Even though I did not go straight to university full-time, I have found another way of gaining a degree without paying an extortionate amount to do so.”
Craig Young, who is employed by Unison to develop apprenticeships across the region, said: “Unison has been working on encouraging employers to commit to supporting apprenticeships and ensuring that all apprentices are treated fairly and consistently and have a positive experience.
“I have been into many workplaces and seen how widely this varies. The model agreement will be an essential tool in maximising the benefits to the oranisation and the individual.”